Tag Archives: Public health

International travel does not rely on vaccine passports or QR codes | Instant News

Photographer: Bloomberg The World Health Agency has entered the controversy over vaccine passports, announcing its opposition. It is not known enough whether vaccines prevent transmission, says the WHO. And vaccine passports would not be fair to poorer countries where vaccination has been slow. They could discriminate against people who cannot be vaccinated. Although the agency has always been late to the Covid party, this time the WHO is probably right, but not entirely for the reasons it gives. Yes, it is true that vaccine passports would surely reinforce the inequality caused by the initial vaccine distribution. As you might expect, richer countries bought the lion’s share of available doses. The poorest nations are jostling each other. Requiring some sort of biometric or QR code as proof of vaccination as a condition of international travel would be bad publicity for the West’s supposed commitment to fairness. However, the claim of inequality could be overcome if such passports are truly necessary for economic recovery – as the travel and hospitality industries claim. But are they correct? Consider Godzilla v. Kong. Seriously. The More The film made nearly $ 50 million domestically in its opening weekend, a figure no one expected at a time when, supposedly, audiences were too scared to see it. go to the cinema. Across the world, the monster movie had nearly $ 300 million in revenue in its first week of release. But maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. It is increasingly clear that the public is much less afraid than a few months ago. As restaurants reopen, people are eating in droves. The malls are crowded. Popular demand for the freedom to live is finally exhausting the executive order restriction that has so characterized the pandemic response. I say this not to criticize public health officials, but to stress that people can often take risks. -versus-reward decisions on their own. It is true, as many suggest, that our acceptance of risk can pose risks to others. But the onus of showing that these externalities are worth the burden of special passports falls on supporters who may find it difficult to make their point: since vaccines have been around, people have been wondering how to show someone has one. In 1880, a letter to a medical journal complained that it was impossible to know for sure whether smallpox vaccination worked because the only “proof of vaccination” was the scar left by the bite – a scar that the appearance of the smallpox. disease could make it invisible. . Yet the world has survived: for over a century, we have accepted as proof of schoolchildren’s vaccination a piece of paper with a scribbled signature, or even, at one point, a simple statement from the child’s parents. Overseas travelers have long known about the yellow international certificate of vaccination, which is usually filled with an impenetrable hand. If proof of vaccination is important, why do we now need a fancy QR code? Yes, the small CDC-approved cards that show someone received the Covid-19 vaccine seem easy to tamper with. Or even to steal: On the site where my wife and I received our snaps, I noticed a bunch of new unmarked cards on an unguarded shelf near the back exit. prove that there is an epidemic of forgery or theft. Here, I feel the same as I do about voter identification laws: before we walk any further down the road to a society where we constantly prove our identity, supporters should at least be able to show off with something. more than anecdotes that a problem in fact exists. Yet even though we have survived for over a century with relatively straightforward evidence of vaccination against a variety of dangerous viruses, I have not been able to find a single reported case involving their tampering. Granted, in the current crisis, fake certificates have been offered for sale on the dark web for $ 250 or more, but we don’t know how many takers there have been, and it’s hard to imagine any the demand they generate, they will survive. the widespread availability of the vaccine itself, which is free. This in turn suggests that distributing more doses around the world (estimated to cost $ 27 billion worldwide – barely a drop in the American bucket these days!) Is the cheapest and easiest way. to prevent any potential tampering. And that would have the significant advantage of helping the poorest countries to overcome the pandemic. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Editorial Board or of Bloomberg LP and its owners. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at [email protected] Before he’s here, it’s on the Bloomberg terminal. LEARN MORE .

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Italian Prosecutors: WHO executives lied about reports of spiky virus | World | Instant News

ROME (AP) – Italian prosecutors have formally accused a top World Health Organization official of lying to them about a UN report that surged into Italy’s coronavirus response, disclosing personal communications on Friday that would likely embarrass the UN agency.

The prosecutor in Bergamo put Dr. Ranieri Guerra, assistant director general of the WHO, is under investigation for allegedly making false statements to them when he voluntarily agreed to be questioned in November. Guerra was the WHO liaison with the Italian government after Italy became the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe last year.

Prosecutors are investigating the large number of deaths from COVID-19 in Bergamo and whether Italy’s lack of pandemic preparedness plays a role. Their investigation was expanded to include a related scandal over the WHO report surging into Italy’s viral response because it revealed it The Italian government has not updated its pandemic preparedness plan since 2006.

The UN health agency withdrew the report from its website on May 14, the day after it was published, and has never republished it. The disappearance shows that the WHO removed it to avoid criticism, shame and responsibility of the Italian government.

When asked at the time whether Guerra or the Italian government had intervened to increase the report, the WHO said it had been removed by its regional office in Copenhagen. because it contains “factual inaccuracies”.

But documents issued by the Bergamo prosecutor, which were first reported by the state-run RAI Report, indicate that Guerra was maneuvering to remove the report because the Italian government was annoyed by it. The documents include a private WhatsApp chat between Guerra and Italian public health official Dr. Silvio Brusaferro.

Prosecutors quoted Guerra’s comments to them, which they said contradicted the facts, and concluded that “Guerra is personally working to remove the report from the WHO website.”

Guerra was the top official in Italy’s health ministry from 2014-2017 when the pandemic preparedness plan was supposed to be updated.

The email indicates he’s trying to have one of the report’s lead authors, Francesco Zambon, change the data in the report to that Italy has “updated” its pandemic plans in 2016 when it hasn’t. Zambon refused and filed a whistleblower complaint with WHO alleging that Guerra had tried to pressure him to change the data. Zambon recently resigned.

Guerra appeared to be ignoring WHO legal advice in November telling WHO officials they were under no obligation to respond to Italian prosecutors’ requests for questioning, given their diplomatic immunity as UN officials.

Guerra had left in his personal capacity and was questioned as someone who was told the facts, not as a suspect. But prosecutors ended up placing him under investigation because “he made a false statement.”

Neither Guerra nor the WHO responded to emails on Friday seeking comment on the matter.


Follow AP pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


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WHO official: Brazil is facing a “raging hell” of the COVID-19 outbreak | Instant News

Brazil is facing a “raging hell of a plague”, Bruce Aylward, senior adviser to the World Health Organization’s director general, warn friday as the number of coronavirus cases and deaths across the country soars.

Driving news: The surge, driven in part by looser mitigation measures and a more contagious local variant, has overwhelmed the country’s health system. Brazil this week confirmed more than 4,000 deaths from COVID-19 within a 24 hour period for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

  • The country has more than 348,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths and more than 13.3 million cases, second only to the US, per Johns Hopkins University data.

What did he say: “The important thing to do now is proven steps that we know will slow down this virus,” Aylward told a news conference.

  • “What you have here is the blaze that rages from the outbreak, and that requires population-level action in rapid identification, isolation, [and] quarantine because you have to get close to this on that scale to slow it down. ”

Large Image: President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday denounced the Senate’s pending investigation into the handling of the pandemic, Reuters report.

  • Bolsonaro has repeatedly resisted social distancing, masks and lockdowns.
  • “The Senate investigation represents the most severe political consequence to date for Bolsonaro’s approach to the coronavirus, which he compared to last year’s ‘mild flu’ because he ignored health experts calling for the use of masks and social distancing,” wrote Reuters.


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Italy fears that the masses have infiltrated the vaccination campaign – POLITICO | Instant News

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ROME – Italian mafias divert vaccines from those who need them most, lawmakers fear.

With Italy struggling to run a shaky vaccination campaign, parliamentary anti-mafia commissions are investigating whether crime syndicates divert vaccines to their friends at the expense of the elderly and vulnerable, especially in the south where they often exercise control over health authorities. .

Italy’s rise in COVID-19 deaths, due to the dramatically slowing death rate in neighboring countries, has led some people, including Prime Minister Mario Draghi, to blame younger people for jumping queues for vaccinations.

At press time conference on Thursday evening, Draghi said: “With what conscience does one jump through the queue, knowing that it makes other people vulnerable, who are over 65 years of age or vulnerable, and who is at real risk of death?”

Institute of International Political Studies (ISPI) think tank estimates that 8,000 lives in Italy could have been saved since January if vaccines were more focused on the elderly.

But there is a growing concern that the masses are using their powers to get people vaccinated beforehand. The number of health workers – part of the first batch of vaccines – has increased suspiciously, especially in areas such as Puglia. Administrators, communications consultants, and even builders working on health sites have been given the shot once it has been added to the priority list.

And a loose interpretation of the Ministry of Health’s guidelines allows Italy’s 20 regions, which are responsible for health care, to allocate injections to well-connected individuals and groups such as politicians, lawyers, judges and journalists. Three south area – Sicily, Calabria and Campania – have given this priority dose as much or more as that given to people over 80 years of age.

At least 1,000 queue jumper suspects are being investigated by various police forces and prosecutors in Italy, including 150 people Palermo alone. Mayor of Corleone in Sicily resign after he was accused of abusing his position to get vaccines for himself and his board members.

This prompted the anti-mafia parliamentary commission to demand the names of those vaccinated. Mario Giarrusso, a member of the commission and a longtime anti-mafia campaigner, told POLITICO that it had compiled a list of names from several southern regions with suspicious numbers.

He said: “The people being vaccinated fall outside the priority category defined by the government, especially in some areas where there is a high mafia density, and we suspect that the mafia regulates vaccinations.”

In areas like Calabria, authority is often under the control of the central government because of mafia infiltration, said Giarrusso.

But even in areas where the mafia’s influence has been far less, vaccine rollouts have failed to prioritize older citizens, experts say.

Military members and prisoners have been given priority status, as well as more than 1 million school and university workers, although most teaching has been transferred to the internet.

According to Matteo Villa, a researcher at the ISPI think tank, the reason for a broader failure in government strategy is a lack of clear guidelines.

Like other countries, Italy prioritizes those over 80 years of age, care homeworkers and health care workers. But under pressure to become a leader in the vaccination race, Italy is giving health workers injections at a much faster rate than those over their 80s. “All health workers are vaccinated at the end of January. But it is done at the expense of the elderly,” said Villa.

At the end of January, seven in 10 vaccines were given to children under 60 years of age. And as of March 31, Italy is way behind the EU’s goal of 80 per cent of people over 80 having received at least one dose.

Even now, more children under 60 have been vaccinated than those over 80, according to officials numbers.

Draghi on Thursday complained that the number of health workers was growing and ordered focus be given to the elderly.

“We need to vaccinate as a priority for everyone over the age of 70,” he said.

Draghi has appointed Francesco Figliuolo, a military general and logistics expert, to get the vaccine back on track. But with Italy recording 718 coronavirus deaths on Friday, the biggest daily increase since December, it continues to count the cost of life.

Giarrusso, the anti-mafia senator, vows to root out the mafia. “We need to verify who has passed the queue. These people take the vaccine from those whose lives are at risk. “

This article is a part of POLITICOPremium policy service: Health Care Pro. From drug pricing, EMA, vaccines, pharmaceuticals and more, our specialist journalists continue to provide you with topics that drive the health care policy agenda. Email [email protected] for a free trial.


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UNT’s Center for Health Sciences leads health literacy outreach in seven states | Instant News

PICTURE: Federal funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will enable the University of North Texas Center for Health Sciences at Fort Worth (HSC) to serve as a leader in …
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Credit: HSC

Federal funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will enable the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center at Fort Worth (HSC) to serve as a leader in health literacy outreach.

The Gibson D. Lewis Library of Health Sciences is one of seven Regional Medical Libraries (RML) in the National Library of Medicine Network (NNLM). RML operates regional and national programs that provide US researchers, health professionals, public health professionals, educators, and the public with equal access to biomedical and health information resources and data.

A recently awarded $ 6.4 million grant allows the Lewis Library to increase its outreach to help communities through health-centered education, information, outreach and grant funding to external organizations.

The grant is an award from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), one of 27 centers and institutes at NIH.

The Lewis Library will lead the newly reconfigured NNLM Region 3, previously designated the South Central Region. Territory 3 is made up of seven states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

“The competition for the awards this time is fierce and we are very pleased to be awarded again,” said Daniel Burgard, University Librarian and Vice Chancellor for Scientific Information Management and Region 3 Chief Investigator.

“We look forward to continuing to serve the health information needs of our region, including the new states of Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska,”

The new grant renews this mission for five years starting May 1 (from 2021 to 2026).

Last June, the Lewis Library team submitted a competitive funding application after NLM published its Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) for RML 2021-2026. The health science library submitted its proposal application in September.

This funding allows Lewis Libraries to provide grants and help fund projects that promote the health and health literacy of a wide range of communities – from rural residents connected to telemedicine in Pottsboro, TX to families resettling in Arkansas after leaving the Marshall Islands.

“The grants we can distribute to the field are very helpful in reaching communities and impacting populations suffering from severe health disparities or experiencing low levels of health literacy,” said Brian D. Leaf, Executive Director of NNLM Region 3.

Lewis Libraries started this service in 2016 when it received a $ 6.2 million five-year grant from the National Library of Medicine.

Over the past five years, the Lewis Library distributed about 160 awards totaling about $ 1.3 million dollars in five states, Leaf said. Award sizes vary from $ 2,000 to $ 40,000.

Leaf said the library is also providing several grants that focus on outreach to COVID-19 information when the pandemic begins.

“Health touches every part of life,” said Leaf. “We want to get people to think more about how they consume and navigate health information.”


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